Catch up on our top media appearances and the most important headlines covering our Faithful Carrier case.
Fox & Friends: Supreme Court Could Make Major Ruling for Religious Liberty
4/19/2023 | First Liberty President Kelly Shackelford and our client Gerald Groff appeared on Fox & Friends to discuss this week’s argument:
Jeremy Dys: Supreme Court Has ‘Watered Down’ Its Standard for Religious Liberty
4/15/2023 | First Liberty Senior Counsel Jeremy Dys appeared on Fox News to discuss the Faithful Carrier case a few days before the argument:
Kelly Shackelford: The Supreme Court Can Restore Religious Liberty in The Workplace
In an op-ed for The Hill, First Liberty President Kelly Shackelford writes:
“Today’s Supreme Court has the opportunity to restore that national pillar when the justices decide Groff v. DeJoy…Employees should not be forced to choose between their faith and their jobs, especially when we can accommodate religion in the same way we accommodate other workplace needs…Our nation has a long history of protecting employees from unfair treatment at work because of their faith. Making sure everyone is treated fairly promotes our nation’s historic commitment to religious diversity.”
Jeremy Dys: Another Key Test for Religious Liberty
In an op-ed for the Washington Examiner, First Liberty attorney Jeremy Dys writes:
“Religious employees should be watching the case of Groff v. DeJoy closely to see whether the Supreme Court will restore religious freedom to the workplace…Rather than respect his religious beliefs, Postal Service officials chose to make an example out of him by repeatedly punishing him and making his work life so miserable it was quit or be fired…Was it an undue hardship for the Postal Service to accommodate Groff? No. Many wanted the overtime pay for Sunday work. Surely an employer the size of the Postal Service could, and at one time did, find a way to accommodate a single employee’s religious exercise.”
Randall Wenger: A Most Basic Accommodation
Attorney Randall Wenger of the Independence Law Center, co-counsel in our Faithful Carrier case, wrote an op-ed for WORLD. He writes:
“Groff’s case provides the justices with the opportunity to restore the critical protections of federal law for religious employees…Restoring our nation’s longstanding commitment to protecting its citizens from being forced out of their jobs because of their faith will continue to motivate everyone from the boardroom to the mailroom to find solutions that respect religious diversity and work for business as a whole. An America that respects everyone should not put religious adherents to the cruel choice of surrendering their religion or their job.”
Conservative Christians Aren’t the Only Ones Asking for Accommodation in Mailman Case
4/19/2023 | The Washington Post reports: The Supreme Court justices heard a case on Tuesday that may sound like another slam-dunk for religious liberty. Religious minorities—Jews, Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Seventh-day Adventists—have filed briefs asking the Supreme Court to overturn a ruling that gutted a civil rights statute’s protections for religious accommodation. Many expect a court ruling to favor Groff. One expert said: “This is not going to be a 5-4 case. Either side will be shocked if the court does not rule in favor of Mr. Groff.”
Supreme Court Signals It Will Make It Easier for Workers to Claim Religious Accommodations
4/18/2023 | Fox News reports: The U.S. Supreme Court appeared ready on Tuesday to make it harder for employers deny a worker’s religious accommodation request, a high-stakes civil rights dispute over balancing an individual’s faith demands with a business’ economic bottom line.
But in nearly two hours of tense oral arguments, a majority of justices also raised questions over the specific workplace discrimination claims raised by a former postal worker who was disciplined for refusing to work on Sundays, when the evangelical Christian said he observes the Sabbath.
Supreme Court Seems Ready to Strengthen Protections for Religious Workers
4/18/2023 | The New York Times reports: The Supreme Court seemed poised on Tuesday to expand, though perhaps only slightly, religious workers’ protections for refusing to work on the Sabbath. By the conclusion of the argument, it seemed clear that Mr. Groff would emerge with a more protective legal standard. But the justices may return the case to the lower courts to apply the new standard to his case.
Supreme Court Seeks Compromise in Ex-Mailman’s Sabbath-Work Conflict
4/18/2023 | The Washington Post reports: A majority of the Supreme Court expressed interest Tuesday in a compromise intended to balance religious rights in the workplace with the burden they might impose on employers and co-workers. Before Tuesday’s argument, there was reason to think the court would be receptive to Groff’s position. Three members of the court’s conservative majority—Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel A. Alito Jr. and Neil M. Gorsuch—had already expressed skepticism about the 1977 decision.
Supreme Court Seems Sympathetic to Postal Worker Who Didn’t Work Sundays in Dispute Over Religious Accommodations
4/18/2023 | CNN reports: The Supreme Court seemed to side with former mail carrier Gerald Groff, an evangelical Christian, who says the US Postal Service failed to accommodate his request to not work on Sundays. During oral arguments on Tuesday, there appeared to be consensus, after almost two hours of oral arguments, that the appeals court had been too quick to rule against Groff.
Supreme Court Signals It May Make It Easier for Some Workers to Make Religious Requests
4/18/2023 | USA Today reports: The Supreme Court signaled Tuesday it may rethink a standard that for decades has guided how employers handle religious requests from workers, such as when employees seek weekend days off for a sabbath or wear religious dress to work. While members of the court’s majority appeared sympathetic to Groff, many also appeared to be searching for an outcome that might tinker with the standard used to decide how such cases are sometimes handled rather than scrapping it entirely.
Supreme Court Hears Case That Could Expand Religious Rights of Workers
4/18/2023 | CBS News reports: Though members of the high court’s conservative majority appeared more willing to revisit and potentially overturn the 1977 Trans World Airlines v. Hardison ruling than their liberal colleagues, several justices tried to find “common ground” between two parties in the case: the federal government and a former Postal Service worker who has alleged that his civil rights were violated. If the Supreme Court rules in favor of Groff, it would be the latest in a string of rulings expanding religious rights.
Supreme Court Probes Religious Accommodations in Christian Postal Worker Case
4/18/2023 | NBC News reports: Supreme Court justices on Tuesday expressed concern about a past ruling that makes it difficult for employers to seek religious accommodations as the court weighs a lawsuit brought by an evangelical Christian mail carrier who asked not to work on Sundays. The court is considering whether to overturn, or at least clarify, a 1977 Supreme Court ruling called Trans World Airlines v. Hardison.
Supreme Court Poised to Clarify Employers’ Obligations to Workers Observing the Sabbath
4/18/2023 | The Washington Examiner reports: The Supreme Court tried to find common ground Tuesday between employees and their bosses in a major religious liberty dispute over employees’ rights and if they can be forced to work on the Sabbath. The majority of the justices on Tuesday appeared ready to clarify what level of burden an employer can place on an employee’s religious practice so as not to run afoul of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Why Supreme Court Case Groff v. DeJoy Has Big Stakes
4/17/2023 | TIME reports: Former postal worker Gerald Groff’s case has made it up to the Supreme Court, and the outcome could affect far more than one religious postal worker’s schedule. The court’s verdict could clarify the standard employers need to meet to deny religious accommodations throughout the country, altering and potentially strengthening protections for all religious workers going forward.
Supreme Court to Deliver Answer in Religious Mailman’s Case
4/17/2023 | AP News reports: Groff’s dispute with the Post Office has reached the U.S. Supreme Court. Lower courts have sided with the Post Office, which says Groff’s demand for Sundays off meant extra work for other employees and caused tension. Groff, for his part, argues employers can too easily reject employees’ requests for religious accommodations, and if he wins, that could change. Groff wants the Supreme Court to say that employers must show “significant difficulty or expense” if they want to reject a religious accommodation.
The Postman’s Sabbath and Federal Law
4/16/2023 | The Wall Street Journal reports: How flexible must an employer be when a worker asks for a religious accommodation? The Supreme Court pondered that on Tuesday in Groff v. DeJoy, the case of a U.S. Postal Service mail carrier who resigned under reprimand after refusing to work on Sundays.
The Supreme Court, The Sabbath and A Much-Debated Piece of Civil Rights Law
4/14/2023 | Deseret News reports: The key question in Groff v. DeJoy is how to interpret and apply Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The statute prohibits, among other things, discrimination in the workplace on the basis of religion. By taking up Groff v. DeJoy, the Supreme Court turned a spotlight on a very similar case from 1977 (Trans World Airlines v. Hardison), which led to a controversial interpretation of Title VII. In the 46 years since the Hardison decision was handed down, the spirit of that dissent has lived on in the work of a wide variety of faith groups and religious freedom advocates, who have been fighting to see either Congress or the Supreme Court revisit and redefine the “undue hardship” standard.
Faith In the Work: Supreme Court to Debate Employer Accommodations for Workers’ Religion
4/13/2023 | Fox News Sunday anchor Shannon Bream writes: Groff v. Dejoy will challenge a Supreme Court ruling for determining an “undue hardship” on employers. In 1977, the Court ruled that federal law requires employers to make good-faith efforts to accommodate an employee’s faith, or show that in doing so, they would “bear more than a de minimis cost.”
In that ruling, the court said TWA Airlines had taken “reasonable” measures to work out an accommodation with the worker, Larry Hardison, but said that TWA should not have to operate shorthanded or regularly pay premium wages to secure replacement workers.
Several conservative justices in recent years have questioned that precedent. Justice Neil Gorsuch, in 2021, urged his colleagues to revisit the issue, saying the 46-year-old ruling “dramatically revised—really, undid— Title VII’s undue hardship test … [and that] the company had no obligation to provide his requested accommodation because doing so would have cost the company something (anything) more than a trivial amount.”